I Must Say: On English, the News, and Other Matters

Edwin Newman, Author Warner Books $0 (296p) ISBN 978-0-446-51423-1
These entertaining and thoughtful syndicated columns by the former TV commentator were written between 1984 and 1987. Though Newman's range of interest is widefrom Third World starvation to smokeless tobacco and celebrity endorsements of productshis most effective pieces are those of modest scope: sales techniques of Hong Kong merchants, the rowdyism of British soccer fans, Sylvester Stallone, ``who does his acting with his chest and arms.'' Known for his genteel understatement and wit, Newman approaches the diatribe level on only few subjects in this collection: rock and ``background'' music, and the influence of political polls. His ``memory pieces'' include an account of his 1975 interview with Emperor Hirohito and of runner Roger Bannister's four-minute-mile record in 1954. His sports enthusiasm later wanes, however, and in a separate piece he grumbles about the ``tiresome and unattractive'' qualities of ``the tennis louts'' and other top athletes today. In the final section, the author of Strictly Speaking and A Civil Tongue adds yet more succinct and often very funny complaints about the sloppiness with which Americans use their language. ( Nov. )
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 316 pages - 978-0-446-39099-6
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